Untied Bronze Chains
Satyricon, Behemoth and Hecate Enthroned
at the Hafenbahn, Offenbach, Germany

by: Matthias Noll
My first show in the new millennium and fortunately a more than promising start. Due to non-existing promotion, a rather small audience (about 300 people) had gathered to watch this event. For Hecate Enthroned this meant that they had to play in front of the 150 who showed up to see all three bands. Frankly, those who came later did not miss a thing. Personally, I had rather high hopes, because I had come to a point where I thought a band which receives as much bashing as Hecate does must at least have some appeal. Unfortunately, the band was totally lame in every category. Their small amount of stage acting left the impression that, with the exception of singer Dean, all bandmembers would have preferred not to move at all or stay in the backstage area. Now and then the guitarists seemed to remember that there was an audience watching and started to headbang for a couple of seconds only to freeze again shortly after. Musically it wasn't the 100% Cradle of Filth rip-off I had been afraid to encounter. Still, a fair amount of similarities clearly showed, especially in their older material. Besides these similarities in style, the two bands don't have much in common -- I didn't hear one convincing song, just 30 minutes of death/black metal cliche material, sewn together like an alpha version of Frankenstein.

Fortunately, Behemoth considerably raised the quality level. Even if the three-piece wasn't able to reproduce the cold, industrial feeling and the tightness (especially the guitar work was sloppy) of their excellent _Satanica_ album [CoC #43], they nevertheless left a very good impression. "Decade of Oepion", "Lam", "From the Pagan Wastelands" and my favorite, the closing track "Chant for Exhaton 2000", were all played with the necessary dedication and aggression; the stage acting was alright and when the fire-spitting Polish warriors left the stage they had won another victory on their Pagan crusade.

The guy behind the mixing desk plugged in another thick cable and somehow I knew that things were starting to get serious now. Satyricon entered the stage and their line-up consisted of six musicians. A female keyboardist, two guitarists, Emperor bass player Tyr and, last but not least, Satyr and Frost. All band members wore traditional corpse-paint with the exception of Satyr, in his _Rebel Extravaganza_ [CoC #43] cover look. The opener "Prime Evil Renaissance" slammed into the crowd like a high-speed racing car and the whole place was going berserk. Satyricon delivered one of the best black metal shows I ever was lucky enough to witness. Musicianship, sound, setlist -- everything close to perfection. On top of that, Satyr proved to be a charismatic frontman, confident enough to use his normal voice when talking to the crowd. From my point of view, the setlist was flawless: "Filthgrinder", "Havoc Vulture", "The Scorn Torrent", "The Dawn of a New Age", "Kvite Krists Dod" and a couple of others. The biggest surprise came shortly before the band left the stage for the first time. Satyr got himself a guitar and with three axemen the band stunned the place with an unbelievable version of "Blessed From Below" from the _Intermezzo II_ EP [CoC #42]. Pretty unusual for a black metal show, Satyricon played for about 90 minutes and came back for a couple of encores. "Tied in Bronze Chains", a neckbreaking version of "Mother North" and finally the Slayer cover "Raining Blood" ended the set. It's going to be hard for most bands to top this experience and I'm happy to say that after the Marduk disappointment [CoC #45] Satyricon succeeded in restoring my faith in black metal live performances.

(article submitted 5/3/2000)

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